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House OKs bill with aim to help emancipated youths obtain restraining orders

Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL-St. Paul) admits the bill she sponsors won’t apply to a lot of people, but that doesn’t lessen its importance.

“This is a very small bill that will have a very large impact,” she said on the House Floor Tuesday. “It could in fact be life-changing.”

She sponsors HF2665 that would permit emancipated minors to petition for a harassment restraining order on their own behalf when a court determines it is in the best interest of the minor.

The House passed the bill 132-0 and sent it to the Senate, where Sen. Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) is the sponsor.

“Emancipated youth often seek protection from unsafe circumstances such as stalking and harassment from adults who are pursuing them often for sex or exploitation,” Hollins said.

Under current law, a petition for a harassment restraining order to protect a minor must be brought by the minors parent, guardian, or conservator.

To demonstrate emancipation and thus be eligible to get a court-ordered restraining order, a minor would need to show a judge proof of:

  • living separately and apart from parents;
  • managing all his or her financial affairs; and
  • severance from all parents who have a legal parent-child relationship with the minor.

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